Before I continue, I would like to say this: I feel bad for the Big East schools that are now essentially screwed. I do not feel bad for the people at the Big East offices, whose awful decision-making skills, inability to be proactive, and desire to focus on basketball got the conference into this mess. Head on over to Rutgers blog On The Banks for a great read on the topic.
Anyways, on to more important news.
This morning at around 9:30, Pitt and Syracuse were formally announced as the 13th and 14th members of the ACC. Here is a transcript of the entire press conference courtesy of the ACC. Now that we're definitely going, there are a few questions that we must ask.
1) When are the two schools going to start playing?
According to the ACC commish John Swofford, the ACC is going to follow the Big East's bylaws, which means that at the longest, the two schools will remain in the Big East for 27 months. Pitt and Syracuse will start ACC play no later than the 2014 season.
However, Chancellor Nordenberg did state that it is not a guarantee that Pitt and the Cuse will have to wait the full time period and it is possible for a shorter transition period. I imagine that this will be the case especially if more Big East teams find different landing spots (i.e. WVU or maybe Louisville to the SEC, Rutgers and UConn to the Big Ten or ACC). I would think that John Marinatto wouldn't want a bunch of schools waiting around for two years while they prepare to change conferences
2) How long has this move been in the works?
As for how long both sides have been talking, Swofford declined to comment. Swofford however did say that the ACC was approached by ten schools regarding conference membership. The ACC's 4-4-4 committee, a mix of school presidents, athletic directors, and faculty representatives, met on Tuesday and the presidents met Tuesday and Wednesday. The committee recommended that the ACC expand to 14. Swofford reached out to Pederson and the Chancellor on Wednesday. Nordenberg and Pederson met with Pitt's Board of Trustees on Friday morning, who approved the move and Pitt sent a letter to the ACC expressing interest in joining the conference. As for why Pitt and Syracuse, the commissioner didn't give any reasons.
Note that the ACC could potentially expand to 16 teams.
The only thing I would add to that is we are not philosophically opposed to 16, but for now we're very pleased with this 14.
3) How pissed off is the rest of the Big East?
4) HOW DID MARINATTO NOT SEE THIS COMING?!?!
Because he is a bumbling idiot. I have no idea.
5) When will new divisions come out for football? Will there be divisions in basketball?
The divisions won't be determined until a definite date for Pitt and Syracuse to join the ACC has been established. As for basketball, it's a possibility, but it also depends on whether the ACC goes to 16.
Let it be known that the Carolina brass is considering having the ACC tournament at MSG as part of a few venues that will rotate as the site of the tournament. I seriously doubt that they will ever agree to moving the ACC tournament from its Tobacco Road home but at least they're open to it.
6) What does Jamie Dixon think of the move?
I don't know. Dixon has always been a fan of the Big East, calling it the best basketball conference in the country. He's turned down job offers from schools like Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, USC, and Maryland to stay at Pitt, partially because of the Big East. He was against Pitt going to the Big Ten. The ACC is different, though, with potential to be as dominant as the Big East has been with the additions of Pitt and Syracuse and the potential addition of UConn. Dixon likes it in Pittsburgh, and I don't think he's the kind of man that will leave Pitt because they changed conferences, but you never know.
So there you have it. A lot of questions will be answered in the coming weeks so stay tuned as Pitt prepares to move to the ACC.